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Staying open to God

Title: Rector, Anglican Church of the Word,Hollywood

Other job experience: Associate rector, St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Port Salerno; served Episcopal churches in Jacksonville, Hartwell, Ga., and an Anglican parish in Highlands, NC; 25 years in finance and commerce, in banking and shipping industries in Florida, New York and London; history teacher; football and girls' track coach, Nebraska.

Other community posts: Armed Forces chaplain,Alexander Nininger State Veterans Nursing Home, Pembroke Pines; adjunct professor at Knox Seminary,Fort Lauderdale.

Education: Bachelor's degree, Hiram Scott College, now part of the University of Nebraska, Scottsbluff, Nebraska; Master of Divinity, University of the South School of Theology, Sewanee, Tennessee; doctor of ministry, Andersonville Theological Seminary, Camilla, Georgia.

Personal: May 25,1948. Born in Leonia, N.J.

Family: Married to Audrey. Two children, three grandchildren.

A distinctive feature of your religion?

We combine traditions of the past and apply them to make them relevant to today's world. A typical service will feature scripture readings, the sermon and communion.

How did you get into your vocation?

I was always active in church and became very involved in the Cursillo movement. Through that, my faith deepened, and I began moving slowly toward a ministry vocation. I went to see our local pastor (in South Florida), and he wanted me to see the bishop. I saw him that day, and from that point on, every door opened. I knew God wanted me to take this path.

 

What's the one most mistaken impression about your faith?

That Christianity is a club for people to look inward. It's more about what you're doing to look outward and help others in the community and beyond.

How do you like to relax?

I like to play golf. I've been playing since I was a kid, and I don't play that well, but I enjoy it. I also like to fish, and I'm an avid reader.

 

What book have you been recommending lately?

I just finished "Valley Forge: George Washington and The Crucible of Victory" by Newt Gingrich. It looks at the perils faced by the soldiers during the American Revolution and how they endured tremendous hardship. It also highlights the fortitude of our leaders, and just reading about the common soldiers and what they did for our country is wonderful.

 

Favorite vacation spot?

We usually go visit our children and grandchildren in Georgia, but a couple of years ago, we celebrated our 30th anniversary with a trip to Ireland. We were with a group, and we went to St. Brigid's Well, the second most religious site for the Irish. There, in a sunken garden, Audie (wife Audrey) and I, along with another couple from our church, renewed our wedding vows. It was wonderful. The tour director said, 'but we don't have a minister.' I told him that wouldn't be a problem, and I was able to conduct the ceremony.

 

Favorite film(s)?

Mostly epics and westerns. Some of my favorites are "Kingdom of Heaven," "Ben Hur," "Braveheart" and "The Patriot." If I see a horse, I'm reminded of my days in Nebraska, and I love watching movies like that.

Favorite music? Favorite performer(s)?

Traditional hymns and contemporary Christian music. One of my favorite performers is Don Moen, whom my wife and I have seen in concert.

Do you have a treasured possession?

I have a bust of George Washington by the sculptor Jean Antoine Houdon, created from life. I got that at Valley Forge. I also have a Book of Common Prayer and Bible combined given to me by my wife's step-father. It dates to 1707 and the Bishop of Salisbury.

 

Your most memorable spiritual experience?

During my middling (second of three) year in seminary, I was awarded the Griffin Scholarship to go study in Jerusalem. That was one of the turning points in my spiritual walk. We would study scripture and then be standing in those areas we read and learned about. That was very powerful.

 

Any advice you'd give for others considering the vocation?

When you're going through the discerning process, be open. If God's leading you, be willing to go wherever he asks. I have been in rural areas, inner cities, big cities, small towns -- such a variety of places, but where God called me, I went.

 

When things get you down, how do you reconnect with the spirit?

Meditation and prayer. Sometimes I'll go on mini-retreats and just focus on prayer and favorite scriptures.

 

Motto, or favorite scripture verse?

Psalm 45:10 "Be still, and know that I am God." Also John 3:17: "For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

Lisa Goddard

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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